Australians moving to technology for health

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Almost half of all Australians are now using technology to support their health goals - with wearable devices and apps available to track fitness, diet, sleep and mindfulness.

The new research of 1,000 Australians, conducted by Bastion Latitude on behalf of Medibank, has also revealed that 80 per cent of users noticed improvements in their health and wellbeing since using health technology – 54 per cent within a few weeks.

Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said the research uncovered some interesting results about how Australians are using apps and devices to improve fitness, establish good habits, improve mental health, lose weight or train for an event.

“We’re keen to encourage Australians to be healthier and happier. Many apps and health devices are sold with a pitch to get you moving, achieve goals and be accountable. We wanted to know more about how and why people are using them,” said Mr Koczkar.

“With so much technology now available, it’s good to see many Australians using it to their advantage. Some of these apps are free or already on our phones. This research shows people are thinking about new ways to improve their physical and mental health.”

Medibank said it will pilot new technology with its 4,155 employees in 2019 to help them achieve their health and wellbeing goals. 

“We’re excited to involve our employees first," said Mr Koczkar. 

"This pilot will use technology to support them on a path towards better health, and in a way that works for them. We recognise improving health is more than running up a hill, it could be about meditation or walking with a friend. Medibank’s purpose is ‘Better Health for Better Lives’. Many of our employees already take a big interest in their health and wellbeing, with this pilot helping them reach new milestones.”

The research also found that 74 per cent of people agreed their health technology kept them personally accountable and 57 per cent planned a longer journey to reach their daily steps target. The same proportion said they used apps or health devices as evidence to share achievements with others.

“Regular exercise and a healthy diet are not only important in the short term, but they’re critical to overall wellbeing and the prevention of many health ailments. Inactivity and obesity are strong markers for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and major joint complications,” added Mr Koczkar.

The data also showed younger Australians are more likely to use health technology to support their health goals, with 73 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds using health apps or devices, compared to 43 per cent of 34 to 64-year-old olds and 18 per cent of those over 65 years.